Trial by Fire

Carrie Buckley, Staff Reporter

“Order in the court! Order in the court!” the judge’s voice sounded out through the court as the lawyers were ready to give their closing argument. Once they finished, they waited out in the hall. They were all spiked with nerves and adrenaline waiting to hear the results. They knew they had done well but they didn’t know how well. The results came through. Everyone expected the regular top four teams to be there, but there was a surprise. The West High Mock Trial team had made it to the semi-finals. There, they were able to finish with a bang.

In the previous years, West High’s Mock Trial team has been in fifth place among the other schools. However, last year they managed to come in eighth place. They were all devastated. With all their determination and hard work, the team was able to accomplish not only a redeeming win to move forward but also a new placement higher than before. “I’m so proud of everyone who worked on it and everyone who has been apart of mock trial because we worked so hard this year,” said senior team captain Jessica Huynh.

Mock trial is a team of lawyers, witnesses, clerks and bailiffs that undergo a series of events that a real person in the justice system would live through. You are given a packet where you build a case in your team’s or in your side’s favor according to the controversial case. A theme is built while your team works together. “You are always learning on your feet,” says co advisor Ms. Shannon McMahon. You rehearse once a week for at least 3 hours building the character you play and memorizing your statements. You need to have the will to put in the work, to have good presentation skills, to have good writing skills and to have the ability to think on your feet. It is a lot work, but definitely filled with enjoyment.

“Even if you’re not interested in becoming a lawyer or anywhere in that direction, you should try it at least once in your life,” said Huynh. It teaches you how to write, present yourself, speak and dress professionally and show respect. Even if you are nervous before the case goes on, it all goes away once you are in that court room with a real judge giving your case. Adrenaline is rushing through your body and it feels great as an accomplishment at the end of the day. It is something you do not learn in an everyday classroom environment and if you can learn that, then you can do anything in the future.